Amazon’s Kindle Fire is currently the most popular Android-powered tablet, but it doesn’t feature a GPS chip. Given how important location-based services have become, that’s a bit of a drawback for many developers and quite a few apps that want to access location features on Amazon’s tablet actually crash. To avoid these issues, Kayak teamed up with Skyhook to provide location services for its updated Android app. Kayak, of course, relies heavily on location services to show its users information like nearby hotels and airport information.
Skyhook’s Android SDK allows developers to get location information across virtually all Android versions and forks like the Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble’s NOOK.
The service, which provided virtually all of the location features for iOS before Apple switched to its own solution in 2010, uses WiFi triangulation when it can’t use a GPS chip or cell tower triangulation to determine a device’s location.
On Android, it is worth noting, Skyhook is also enabled in a number of other popular apps, including Tweetcaster, HopStop, deCarta and OpenTable. WiFi triangulation, of course, is never quite as accurate as GPS (except for when you are indoors), but using a service like Skyhook greatly improves location accuracy in urban areas and speeds up GPS satellite acquisition times.